How to fix a camel toe

I suppose I should open with a lecture to do what I say and not as I do but I think I’ll pass. Rather, the lesson for today boys and girls is to never consider your fitting sample ready for fitting analysis until you’ve finished sewing it. Sounds obvious huh? Consider me spanked. By the way, the alternative title for this post is Pattern String Codes part 4 so this comes on the tail of parts two and three.

Anyway, being in a hurry as I was and happy to report the pant block was pretty good (I still say it wasn’t bad for my figure type), I hadn’t actually finished the waist off with the elastic waistband and this proved to be my undoing. Once I finished the band and put them on, darn it all, there was that little booger in my crotch. I suppose I can take solace in the fact that I’d said it was there when I first looked at the pattern, well before I ever cut it out. ~sigh~ on to the matter at hand.

As I mentioned in Anatomy of a Camel Toe part two, the CT is usually formed because the center front of the pant has too much fabric in it (I’d suggest you revisit that post before this one). I’ll start by walking you through this. Below is a photo of the pant crotch. The front is to the left (in case you don’t sew and don’t know what you’re looking at).

To correct the CT, you have to scoop out the front. Below I’ve marked off about half an inch, tapering it to nothing where it hits the deepest portion of the crotch curve.

Below you can see the effect once the excess is trimmed away. Already the crotch curve is looking nicer.

If you find that you don’t have enough fabric to go around after having trimmed out the front, you’ll need to add that at the side seam, correct? But you already knew that because you went back to read Anatomy pt. 2, didn’t you? Of course you did.

Now, at the same time that the front is trimmed away, the front waistline -particularly at CF – must be lowered because the CF line is too long. By the way, that is exactly how I missed the CT; I fit it the first time without the waistband and elastic. I had it tied into place and as we’ve all seen, that was definitely an inappropriate solution. If the waistband had been formed, I would have seen the too long front line with the pool of CT in the bottom of the crotch. To correct the waist line, I’ve marked off another half inch, tapering it to nothing at the side seam.

Thus corrected, below is a finished view of the pants crotch shaping. Please note that the height of the pant at the front is considerably lower now than the height of the pant at center back. This is a good thing. Previously, there hadn’t been much difference between the two (front and back).

As a point of comparison regarding front to back waist height of the drafts, I pulled a pattern I had gotten (a plot, not a hard copy) from a friend of mine way back when. This is a jeans pattern; the back pant is on the left now. The front piece has a cut out at the side seam because that’s where the pocket goes (in case you wonder why it doesn’t look like the other pants pattern). Also, the back looks different because it’s been pieced with a yoke. This is an example of your basic 5 pocket.

As you can see, the shaping of the crotch curve varies considerably and the height difference of the waists front and back are more extreme. This is to be expected considering the styling differences. The jeans were made to fit “big bootie girls” as the designer called them (she being one herself) cut with full curves to the seat. And in case you ask, yes, I think my friend’s pattern needed better shaping itself in the crotch line -which is why she gave it to me- but she closed her doors before we got around to this particular job. I just showed it here to illustrate height differences of the waist, front to back.

Related: Jeans and pants fitting tutorials
Jeans fit so lousy these days
Jeans fit so lousy these days pt. 2
Yet another pet peeve: Waistbands
Anatomy of a Camel Toe pt.1
Anatomy of a Camel Toe pt.2
How to fix a camel toe
Adding a gusset to pants pt.1
Adding a gusset to pants pt.2

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  1. Trish says:

    Kathleen, you have me rolling with laughter… only you would think to give a tutorial on camel toe.

    I only want to add one thing… there is another type of camel toe… this is when the crotch it too high and tight and you see (on women) an odd little two — well, go look at a camel’s toes and you will see the two little bumps…. LOL

    Okay, of course in this case you need to make different changes (for example, start wearing only skirts!!)

    No, seriously, the crotch depth and length may need to be tweaked.

    Thanks for the wonderful site.

  2. Kathleen says:

    I have this weird pet theory about the shaping of crotch lines that I want to share with you guys. I mean, it could be totally bogus but I think it’d be fun to do “what if”. It’s along the lines of the primary range of motion thing I’ve written about with regards to armholes, except as it applies to crotches and I’m leaving this comment here as a placeholder, a reminder for me to write about it on monday. Assuming anybody’s interested.

  3. Judith says:

    Trish you make me laugh. The sad truth is when I go to buy a pair of jeans and I try on 12 paris and nothing fits. I buy another skirt or dress. I do have a closet full of skirts and dresses. I have just a few pairs of jeans. I have done this shopping method for years. I just get frustrated tho and fall into the same ole trap.

  4. brett says:

    Please. no!!!! not the end of the camel toe. we love the camel toe. the camel toe burn into our minds and gives us food for thought. to engineer apparel so as to reduce or eliminate the camel toe, well… is like serving apple pie without whipped cream. we all love whipped cream, dont we. please, say it isnt so!

  5. Ruthie says:

    Clothing, especially underclothing, should be formed to fit the human body, not to suppress it.
    Nothing done to wearable trousers will eliminate every instance of “camel toe.” If the crotch is loose enough to obscure the pudenda while standing, it will reappear when sitting, squatting, or bending over.
    The only sure cure is the skirted garment.
    Also, trousers on women invariably cause the buttocks to be emphasized. Again, the cure is the skirt. To prevent “swallowing” of the rear of the skirt by the buttocks, a snug underskirt or slip will pull a straight panel across the rear. For comfort, it can be made of a stretch fabric, but preferably a stretch fabric that is knitted to stretch, not of a stretch thread like Lycra or other elastomer (rubber- or latex-like), which has chemical health-damaging issues.

  6. Katherine Summer says:

    Can camel toe also be caused by sewing the pants legs first (outseam and inseam) and then assembling both completed legs at the crotch seam? I was taught to do it this way from every class and pattern instruction sheet, but when I look at most of my pants, they have been sewn 1) front rise to front rise/back rise to back rise 2) outseams, 3)inseams from one hem to the other. It seems to me (although I do have a mighty imagination) that this particular order of operations especially helps with the camel toe created when you sit down.

  7. Trish – I was thinking the same thing today!
    Jane & I (we have a lovely Graduate with us at the mo who, sadly for us – joyous for her, is off to the Royal College of Art to do her MA in Oct) have been trying to solve this problem; the fault being the one that ‘looks-like-a-man’ rather than the ‘crease-in-the-ditch’.
    Kathleen – thanks for the piece, it has helped shorten our problem-solving…we hope!

  8. Rosemary says:

    I love the internet!! I teach patternmaking and a student asked about dealing with camel toe. I said “lets do some research” and here you are. I teach my students that if the pants are to be close-fitting to sew the crotches separately then the inseam, but for looser, tailored pants the inseam first. What do you advise?

  9. robbie says:

    I didn’t even know that there was so much info. out there on this subject. I just made a pair of pants, wool blend, from a pattern that my teacher had hanging on a sample rack. These pants are the best fitting pants I’ve ever tried on. We had to do some alterations, but the fits makes me look better than anything else… although I have never tried on $200+ pants. I would love to send in a pic. once I have the lining done. We are women, not barbies! I don’t know a fix for the camel toe, but surely wouldn’t get one that fit like that!

  10. Stephanie G says:

    I would LOVE to hear your theories on crotch lines (you mentioned writing about this on October 20)….I am a part of the Technical Design team for an action-sports outerwear design company– range of motion is key with our styles. As a junior tech designer, I am learning an incredible amount. However, the more experienced Technical Designers and I seem to have a difference in opinion about a proper rise shape for a well-cut, functional snowboard pant. I would love to hear your thoughts on rise shape and mobility. *Overall kudos to you, I love reading your insights and sharing them with my coworkers.

  11. Nancy K says:

    I just posted a link to this tutorial on Pattern Review. Someone had asked me about front crotch fit, and your tutorial is excellent, and pretty much how I managed to finally get rid of all that extra at the base of my crotch. But, almost no one tells you that if you make this adjustment you need to lower the cf waist! I finally figured this out on my own. Thanks for sharing all this great info.

  12. Leora says:

    I’m wrapping my head around body space and the CF seam. I thought I would take a 1/2” wedge from CF just above the curve area, tapering it to 0 at the side seam, to remove excess yuck but luckily followed Nancy’s recommendation to check this link. Ditching that idea. Still, there must be something about the shape or the angle of that curve which makes the fit so wrong and challenging myself to work the remaining puzzle out. Many thanks, as always, for sharing your expertise.

  13. raquel says:

    Is the 1/2 adjustment a standard adjustment for correcting this issue? Or do you have to figure it out on your own? I can see why the correction made the crotch look better, but can you explain what makes a good crotch line on a pattern?

  14. dean dyer says:

    yes only kathleen would give such a tutorial… OMG, it amazes me every time I go to this site… especially after reading Threads Magazine, or looking at any one of half a dozen other sites for home sewers or pattern makers…
    I do agree that this condition is in the pattern at development, of which I had to do so many fittings before I found the majicfit pattern for just last year… It gives you a prefect fit the first time, but being the perfectionist that I am, I would always tweak the crotch tips.
    My question is; or comment rather; this condition can actually exist in the C.B, where the pants are sculpted to the buttock in such away that you either love it or you hate it.
    Then it’s a matter of adjustment to the C.B, just as this is to the C.F.

  15. Angelica says:

    I was planning a bloomer draft for a friend and when looking for this tutorial to make sure my crotch curves were correct. I rarely draft pant-like garments and wanted to be sure of what I was doing. In thinking about this problem in seems the issue is the one missing variable, the absolute width of the crotch curve. In trying to figure this out I realised that it would take a lot more information than that provided by normal measuring tape because of the elliptical shape of the hips and waist. Would the only way to get this measurement be the use of calipers?

    Of course none of this is conjecture is really necessary in a draft for something as loose fitting as what I am making, but I wanted to know your thoughts on this.

  16. Amber says:

    Kathleen, I love your site, your book-you! I have to say-I’ve read this article and the two previous ones on camel two several times and I’m still confused about one thing. I don’t understand why you are taking 1/2″ off the waist shortening the CF crotch line. Through the series you are saying that the crotch is too short-then right there you say the CF crotch line is too long?? I put on a pair of CT pants I owned and pretended I was getting rid of 1/2″ on the CF crotch length-and I got an even bigger C.T. (I know I didn’t do the scoop out of the crotch line though) My mind is just not wrapping around how taking away crotch length would help C.T.
    I know this an older tutorial but if you could reply I’d be thankful.

  17. kathleen says:

    HI Amber, I see your point, the sentence “Now, at the same time that the front is trimmed away, the front waistline -particularly at CF – must be lowered because the CF line is too long.” should read “the CF waist is too high”.

    It’s not length so much that is the issue but it has to be in the proper place. The CF line was actually too short in one place, too long in another and one cannot borrow from the other to make the correction. Ex:
    Waist is too high, trim it back. Yes, this shortens the already too short crotch line which is doubly why you lengthen the crotch curve by trimming and reshaping it.

    Yes, I would imagine that if you only shortened the waist line, you’d have a worse CT. Sorry for the confusion but I hope this helps.

  18. Miriam Bernstein says:

    I just happened upon your explanation of camel toe. My dilemma with the crouch is not that there is too much room, but I think because there isn’t enough room. I am thin and when I stand with feet together there is a space at the crouch between my legs. How can I fix this so that cf and cb have more space?

  19. Art Seaton says:


    I ran into your “camel toe” entries (Jeans fit so lousy these days parts 1 & 2, Anatomy of a camel toe parts 1 & 2, and How to fix a camel toe) and thought I would add my two cents worth.

    Years ago there used to be another “important” measurement taken when fitting trousers. I’ve looked through all my books on pattern making and fitting and cannot find it now. But I do recall it and I believe that it is the best aid in avoiding (or creating) a camel toe. That measurement starts at center waist, either front or back, goes down and around the crotch and ends back at center waist the opposite “side” of the body. It is used to check the crotch seam of a pair of trousers. If you want to DE-emphasize the cleavage, either front or back, you make sure that the pattern matches the measurement with a couple of inches for ease. To emphasize the cleavage, shorten the measurement, which adds fabric (as you have pointed out). Shorten the measurement in the back and you will emphasize the posterior cleavage. Shorten the measurement in front and you will emphasize the pudendum cleavage. In the case of men, shortening the measurement in the front creates cleavage as it cuts through his “package,” or creates what is called a “Mormon Camel Toe” in which the entire “package” is shoved to one side of the seam and the bulge is only there.

    I have never made a pair of trousers without taking that measurement. It has resulted in some slanderous comments (my female customers call me a pervert, my male customers accuse me of being gay), but I consider it important enough to endure these slanders.

    In addition, I have used this knowledge to get just the thing your articles are written to help readers avoid. (This is for Brett, who responded to the above post on October 25, 2006 with his regret that the camel toe can be fixed.) Some younger females wanted “boy pants,” that is undergarments with a center or crotch seam that otherwise fit like panties. They wanted these garments to emphasize the cleavage, both front and back, and panties with a center or crotch seam is what we determined was the best way to accomplish it. The combination of this little bit of information, use of stretch fabrics that are common for undergarments, and elastic thread for the crotch seams have resulted in “boy pants” that have made these customers very satisfied. Oh, did I mention that most of these customers either work or moonlight as exotic dancers. They were looking for “lounge wear,” that is garments to wear while they are not on the stage, but down on the floor hustling drinks. It allows them to look like their “panties” were painted on instead of pulled up, and this makes it easier to entice a male customer into buying them a drink. It also satisfies the State Liquor Control Board who refuse to allow nudity in any establishment that serves alcohol.

    By way of history, we started to really notice the “camel toe” in the early eighties, while I was in college after the military. The debate at the time was over weather or not the young ladies knew that they were placing themselves on display in that manner. I won the debate when I mentioned a girl who was known for her modesty and chastity. She sported a very visible camel toe. That should have settled the issue, but to make sure, I had my wife take her aside and point it out to her. The following day she showed up in a skirt and it was weeks before she wore pants again. When she did start to wear trousers, they never lent themselves to such a display. From that, we concluded that she had not been aware of her camel toe, just the uncomfortable way her jeans fit in the crotch area.

    Now days, I think that most young ladies proudly display their camel toes. But, while Shelly Winters is quoted as saying how disgusting nudity is, she continues that quote by saying that if she were young and in good shape she would probably believe that it is a boon to mankind.

    Art Seaton

  20. Louise says:

    Is there a way to fix camel toe on an existing pair of jeans without taking them apart? (or making a weird seam buckle to the zipper)
    Thank you

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